Ex-cyclone Owen is expected to fade overnight
UPDATE: EX-TROPICAL cyclone Owen could reach the end of its life-cycle while approaching coastal waters Monday morning.
On Sunday afternoon, ex-tropical cyclone Owen was located off the tropical coast, about 90km east to northeast of Ayr on a south-eastwards trajectory.
It is expected to reach the Mackay coast before slowly shifting north again during Tuesday and Wednesday.
While there were concerns Owen could re-form into a cyclone for a third time, atmospheric conditions are expected to become less favourable for re-development on Monday and Tuesday.
EARLIER: BOM authorities have warned of severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall which could lead to flooding all over the state in the wake of ex-tropical cyclone Owen.
BoM senior forecaster Michelle Berry told ABC radio the rainfall as "exceptional".
Police have advised people to avoid driving on the Bruce Highway between Cairns and Townsville due to flooding on various parts of the road, and ask for people to remain calm and patient with authorities as they work to keep everyone safe.
This comes after reports of abuse towards traffic controllers around flooded roads near Townsville, which a spokeswoman from Queensland Police says will not be tolerated.
Halifax and Ingham have been some of the hardest hit areas with rain overnight, with Halifax recording around 650mm since 9am yesterday.
QFES have also received reports of cars stuck in water in Halifax and Ingham after people attempted to drive in flood waters.
In the southeast, Pomona in the Sunshine Coast hinterland has recorded 120mm in just the last few hours.
BOM authorities warn of potential severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall all over the southeast today, with immediate warnings in place for Gympie, Somerset, Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay areas.
There is a chance ex-tropical cyclone Owen, dubbed a "zombie" cyclone, may re-form off the Queensland coast after unloading wild winds and up to 200mm of torrential rain across the state's far north.
Two isolated aboriginal townships "dodged a bullet" as the Category 3 cyclone veered south early on Saturday to hit the sparsely populated western part of Cape York.
Cyclone Owen still packed a punch in its compact core - just 30km wide in the most destructive eye - with 120km/h winds and dumping 200mm of rain in two hours in parts.
But by late on Saturday afternoon, Owen was a cyclone no more, with the Bureau of Meteorology downgrading it to a tropical low.
QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll said it was one of the best-case scenarios emergency services had seen in a long time, but warned of heavy rainfall and flash flooding that could still follow.
"Please do not be complacent, particularly in that northeast tropics area where the rain will continue," Ms Carroll said.
"As always, if it's flooding forget it. And as always, listen to your warnings."
There was a 50 per cent chance of Owen again spinning back up into a cyclone in the Coral Sea off Townsville on Tuesday.
There are no reports of overnight swift water rescues at this stage.
There was heavy rain in the state's north overnight, especially between Cardwell and Ayr.
At 4:47 am BoM issued a Severe Weather Warning for heavy rainfall and damaging winds for people in North Tropical Coast and Tablelands, Herbert and Lower Burdekin, Central Coast and Whitsundays, Capricornia and parts of Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders, Central Highlands and Coalfields and Wide Bay and Burnett Forecast Districts.
Heavy rainfall to extend from the tropics south through central Queensland today and overnight. Damaging winds possible in coastal areas north of about Bowen.
Ex tropical cyclone Owen has moved off the North Tropical Coast and, at 4am AEST, it lay about 80km southeast of Innisfail. It is forecast to move southeastwards and will likely lie off the Central Coast by early Monday morning. A broad upper level trough will move east over the state on Sunday and will eventually shift offshore into the Coral Sea later on Monday.
Heavy rainfall, which may lead to flash flooding, is occurring in the northern Herbert and Lower Burdekin district. This heavy rain is expected to extend south into central Queensland today, as far as Bundaberg overnight tonight. Scattered six hourly rainfall totals between 100 and 200mm are likely, with isolated higher falls. Locations that may be affected include Ingham, Townsville, Palm Island, Charters Towers, Bowen, Proserpine, Mackay, Clermont, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Biloela, and Bundaberg.
Currently the heaviest rain is occurring over the Herbert and Lower Burdekin district. Halifax, east of Ingham, has recorded 300mm in the six hours to 5am Sunday, and 623mm since 9am Saturday.
Damaging wind gusts in excess of 90km/h are possible in coastal areas north of about Bowen as the tropical low moves south. A 100 km/h wind gust was recorded at Lucinda at 3:30am Sunday.
The tropical low will most likely lie offshore of the Mackay coast on Monday before shifting slow north again during Tuesday and Wednesday. At this stage the low is not expected to redevelop into a tropical cyclone. The situation will be monitored carefully and tropical cyclone advisories will be issued if necessary.
BoM issued several flood warnings overnight:
- Minor Flood Warning for the Bohle River
- Minor Flood Warning for the Herbert River
- Final Flood Warning for the Mulgrave and Russell Rivers
- Flood Watch for south Cape York Peninsula and coastal catchments from Cape Tribulation to St Lawrence
- Initial Flood Warning for the lower Diamantina River
At 7.22am BoM issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Southeast Queensland
for heavy rainfall that is likely to affect Gympie, Somerset, Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Moreton Bay Council Areas.
Thunderstorms with heavy rainfall continue over the Sunshine Coast hinterland.
Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding in the warning area over the next several hours.
Locations which may be affected include Kilcoy, the area northwest of Noosa Heads and Pomona.
120mm of rainfall at Pomona in the past three hours.
Meanwhile back in Kowanyama on the Gulf of Carpentaria side of Cape York local Mayor Michael Yam said his community "dodged a bullet" when the cyclone veered south.
"We were right in the bullseye but then it dipped and went south," Cr Yam said.
"It's a bit strange, we got a bit of wind and rain overnight, but nothing much.
"There's no structural damage, a little debris, we're all good and in one piece.
"What I'm really happy about is the preparation.
"Everyone went into lockdown and took the threat seriously."